Because HIV/AIDS can be difficult to observe externally, employers may downplay the needs of those affected. A 2008 law ensures that employees with HIV/AIDS are covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, and are entitled to the same protections and accommodations afforded to workers with more visible conditions.
This article by TELG principal Tom Harrington and TELG managing principal R. Scott Oswald was published by HIV Plus on May 25, 2015. The full article is available at HIV Plus.
Don’t Just ‘Walk it Off’: Protections in the Workplace for Employees With HIV
HIV may have the reputation of being an insurmountable challenge, but many who have the virus manage it and go about their daily lives in a way that draws little attention. But this can cause workplace issues precisely because the condition is now manageable and can be almost impossible to observe externally. Although many live full, normal lives, management of HIV can demand a lot, both in time and in mental anguish. Because others often cannot see the employee’s challenges, they may be dismissive, leading to a worsening working environment, poor relationships, and a less productive employee. In this situation, everybody loses.
After a series of judicial decisions narrowly construing the conditions covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act, Congress revised the ADA in 2008 with the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendment Act (ADAAA). The result is a more expansive interpretation of what constitutes a disability under the act.